It seems the world has transitioned seamlessly into remote work, which is great for some, but not everyone's cup of tea. With more people than ever working from their homes, they are starting to realize the same issues they had in the office can follow them into their living room. Namely, motivation. It can be hard to be motivated when sitting eight hours a day in an office, and at the beginning of the pandemic millions of people seemed excited to continue business from the comfort of their house. Eight months later, however, and it's getting just as hard to turn on a computer instead of the TV as it was to commute into the office. Luckily, there are tons of ways to combat the work from home blues and keep up your motivation so you can win the day every day.
Dedicate a Workspace
It can be incredibly tempting to grab your work laptop and sit on the couch for a day of "productivity." Even if you can accomplish this for a week or two, however, it will gradually get harder and harder to convince yourself to get things done. Why? Because your couch is a place you relax and unwind from the stress of the day, so your body will always want to sink into the cushions and enjoy some of your favorite television shows or books. Creating a space dedicated solely to work can help your brain kick into gear when it's time to cross tasks off your to-do list. Just like driving to the office and sitting at your desk triggered your body it was time to focus up and get moving, sequestering yourself in a home office with your work materials can do the same. It's much easier to get things done when you're in the right headspace, and this is one way to get yourself there.
Create a Schedule
The human body thrives on routine, but if you don't have to drive to work and punch the clock every morning, you can easily slip into unstructured days. If you're trying to work only when you feel productive, you might start falling behind on your projects. Equally, if you try to push through tasks at times you're just not in it, you might not complete them to the best of your ability. The key is to know your body clock. If you have flexibility in your work schedule, use it to your advantage. Put in some early hours if you're a morning person, or some late ones if you're more alert at night. If you're still grinding out the nine to five schedule, then create a solid plan for when you'll take breaks and lunch. Building in time to step away from the computer, make a snack, take a walk, or just catch your breath can help you to revitalize your mind and body continuously throughout the day so you stay productive while at your computer.
There's nothing that motivates us more to stay in our pajamas all day than not leaving the house. It's cozy and warm and no one is going to see you anyway, right? (At least as long as you don't have video conferences scheduled.) As enticing as this option may seem, it's best to stay away from the all day pajama party. Just like having a place to go when it's time to work triggers your brain it's productivity time, getting dressed for the day does the same. You don't have to put on your full office attire of course, but a T-shirt and a pair of pants can go a long way to signaling your body it's time to accomplish things. It helps you to wake up, get organized, and feel motivated to start the day. So trade in your yoga pants for a pair of jeans and see the results for yourself!
Just like in an office, the biggest productivity killer is distractions. When you don't feel motivated to work, it's fun to spend most of your time in the office chat or checking your phone for messages. This is a nice way to decompress between tasks for a moment or two, but it can also steal hours of your day when you need to get work done. If you find yourself constantly looking to the chat bar for new messages or distractions, simply close it out. You'll be surprised how much more focused and motivated you feel when little things aren't demanding your attention during a task. It helps you to keep your mind on the task at hand, which means you can complete it faster, which will make you proud and happy when you finish it much quicker than you anticipated.
Plan Personal Time
When you're making your schedule for the day, don't limit it just to work hours. Feel free to push the schedule a little further and plan some time for yourself at the beginning or end of each day. This can be incredibly important because it forces you to set boundaries with your working environment and focus on yourself for an hour or so each day. Working from home encroaches on your personal boundaries in ways you might not notice at first, but could eventually realize when you look at your timecard and realize you've been pulling ten or eleven hour days simply because you can. With all of your work equipment at your disposal, it's important not to get sucked into working all the time. Your body needs time to rest and recover, and your mind needs the same. So pick an activity you enjoy and schedule into your daily routine. Maybe it's morning yoga, evening walks with your spouse, or spa hour in your bathroom. Whatever helps you to unwind, don't let it fall by the wayside.
Capitalize on Your Foregone Commute
Did you used to spend an hour sitting in traffic just trying to make it to your office on time? Now that you're working from home, you suddenly have the hour back and shouldn't let it go to waste. Instead of pressing the snooze button and waking up later, keep your sleep schedule and capitalize on the extra time in the morning. You can cook yourself a nice breakfast every day or start working earlier so you can finish up the day earlier as well. This would also be a great time to add in your personal time or an exercise routine. There are tons of things you can do with your newly freed hour in the morning and afternoon, so don't let it go to waste!
End the Day
No matter how tempting it may be to keep working until a project is done, make sure you end each day on time. If you used to always clock out right at 5 p.m., do the same from your home office. Put your phone away or disable your work emails for the night so you can enter your home and be relaxed and happy. This helps to preserve the calmness of your living space and keeps you from overworking yourself.
Keeping up motivation when you work from home can be difficult, but these tips can help you to stay positive and productive!